Tag: Faith

Passion, journey and calling outside the box of religion

Written by on February 24, 2010 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 0 Comments

godinSeth Godin writes about a pastor who “runs a congregation” who admits it’s “just a job” on many days. Godin turns to his readers and admonishes them to do whatever they do with passion, whether doctors, lawyers, salesmen, etc. (it strikes me his audience is a bit highbrow). He says they each have callings that are important, potentially.

Or fake it, whatever.

Godin may be shocked by the pastor (I’m not). What gets me is that people in the secular world are increasingly free to talk about spirituality, passion, and calling. This is a very good thing. It’s great that Godin is bothered, and I’m glad he doesn’t leave spirituality to the professional religionist. We aren’t living in two worlds: secular and spiritual. There is just one real world that we’re often too distracted or simply afraid to see. Anyone who wants to live with genuine passion and calling will begin a journey that leads to truth. It’s difficult but worth taking. I don’t have to argue with you about where it leads, because if you pursue it honestly you’ll find out. I’m happy to share thoughts and experiences as one fellow traveler to another though. Meanwhile, people living by …

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The trail of stones and the great rock

Written by on September 24, 2009 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 1 Comment


There was a boy in search of truth. He followed a trail of pebbles up a well worn trail. Each pebble contained a tiny portion of truth. Previous travelers had polished them and laid them out along the way.

The trail was long, and as he traveled the boy grew into a man. He continued following the trail of stones in the hope that he would finally reach the source.

One day when he was resting he looked to the side and saw a great boulder on a hillside. It was rough, not polished or handled by anyone, and placed without any clear intention. Yet it filled him with strange wonder, like something from a dream, and attracted him like nothing he had encountered before.

To reach that place, he had to leave the trail, descend, and traverse. He could surely get there, he considered, but there was no telling what he would see from that vantage.

He looked for a long time, then he returned to the trail of pebbles that he knew so well. He had climbed a long way already, and the great rock was perched on a slippery slope after all.

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A faith to share on journey together

Written by on August 8, 2009 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 1 Comment

I’m glad Mark Scandrette is blogging again and writing about things like “a Jesus Dojo.” He’s one of the few writers I know who thinks widely and freely enough about what it means to be a follower of Jesus to inspire me. Far from leaving the faith in such venturing, I believe he trusts that there is a resilient reality of life in Jesus that will capture the hearts and minds of people in any age, including this postmodern one. I relate well with his latest post, in which he says:

Changes in our society and resulting consciousness are raising new questions about what it means to be faithful to the way of Jesus, and how to understand the unfolding story of the Judeo-Christian scriptures. Many of us are rediscovering the holistic and integrative nature of the message and work of Jesus– the message and reality that the kingdom of God is present and progressing. We bring new questions to ancient traditions and texts. Instead of primarily asking, “How do I get to heaven when I die?” more and more of us wonder “What does it mean to live conscious of God and God’s purposes in the hear and

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The failure of doctrine to change people

Written by on July 15, 2009 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 2 Comments

I looked up an article by Kenneth Minogue in which he discussed “politicized compassion.” Consider this quote (italics mine):

It is a politicised virtue, which means that it is focused not on real individuals but on some current image of a whole category of people. Correspondingly, it invokes hostility towards those believed to have caused the pain and misery of others. Public discussion thus turns into melodrama…. Further, our sympathy for the oppressed is a demonstration to ourselves of our own benevolence. The fact is, of course, that political exponents of niceness may or may not be personally generous and benevolent. Doctrine is not character.

That last line got me. You have liberals and conservatives advocating compassion and justice who are not generous in their own lives. Then you have things like “born again Christians” having a 27 percent divorce rate, compared with 21 percent among professed atheists. Doctrine is not character; it doesn’t change a person. Change comes from the inside out. Love, though, can really change people.

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Paul Young interview on The Hour

Written by on May 17, 2009 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 1 Comment

Today I saw this video of Paul Young, author of The Shack, being interviewed on “The Hour” (a late night TV show in the USA). I’m always grateful for Paul’s authentic way of speaking. He’s been through some terrible suffering, some of it self-imposed, and emerged as a guy who is clearly comfortable in his own skin. When someone like this speaks plainly with obvious delight about his faith in Jesus, whether people agree or not, I think they lean in to hear better. Well, I do.

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Two questions I have for God

Written by on May 13, 2009 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 1 Comment

20090425-189-032Who are you? What do you want of me? These are the two questions Mack had for God his first night in The Shack.

I recently started reading The Shack again, and these questions struck a chord. It wasn’t until recently that I really began asking the first question. I always thought I knew who God was. God was God, the one listening when I prayed, the One and only who was there whenever I closed my eyes to pray. That was the strangest part. It seemed like I could summon and dismiss God whenever I wanted. Easy. And I knew prayer formulas that always worked, guaranteed, if my heart was right (a big “if” if I suppose). The most important prayer formulas were for forgiveness and salvation.

The formula to pray for forgiveness sometimes went like this:

1. Stop everything. 2. Cue inner dramatic music, gather feelings of regret and perhaps shed a tear. 3. Close eyes and say something like: “LORD God, forgive me for (details go here). Thank you. You are so great. In Jesus’ name. Love, and so on. Amen.” 4. Turn the TV back on, etc. (The whole ritual can be done, with a

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